DIY Homemade Kombucha

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Kombucha Starter - DIY homemade kombucha

Now that we know all about kombucha, it's time to make our own.   

Note: you can get a SCOBY disk from a kombucha-brewing friend, at health food stores or online at culturesforhealth.com or at thrivemarket.com

  • Prep Time
  • 8 cupsServings

Ingredients

Supplies

  • 1 large wide mouth glass jar or bowl (1 gallon capacity). Very well cleaned!
  • 1 dish towel, coffee filter or paper towel
  • 1 rubber band

Ingredients

  • 1 SCOBY disk
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar, brown sugar or sucanat (evaporated cane juice)
  • 4 black, oolong or green tea bags (preferably organic)
  • 1 cup of pre-made kombucha (either bought or from a previous kombucha batch), unflavored

Preparation

1. Bring water to boil in a large pot on the stovetop. Once it reaches a boil, remove from heat and add teabags and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

2. Steep tea for about 20 to 30 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.

3. Let the mixture cool down completely to room temperature.

4. Once cooled, transfer tea mixture to a large jar. Drop in SCOBY and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.

5. Cover jar with dish towel, an inverted coffee filter or a paper towel and secure it with a rubber band. Don’t use a lid, as air needs to circulate.

6. Allow kombucha to sit for 7–10 days on a dark spot at room temperature. Shorter time produces a weaker kombucha that tastes less sour, while a longer sitting time makes the kombucha ferment further and develop more taste. It’s good to taste the batch every couple of days after the 7th day to see if its reached the right taste and level of carbonation that you enjoy, as results will vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Note that it’s normal for the SCOBY to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new layer of SCOBY will start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. Other weird looking things such as brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles around the scoby are all normal, so don’t be scared!

Once you are satisfied with the flavor of your kombucha, carefully remove the SCOBY from your kombucha with clean hands and place it on a plate. If its bottom layer is too thick, you can remove it. Then add the SCOBY into another batch of cooled sweetened tea as explained above, setting aside a cup of the fresh kombucha to prepare the next batch.

Divide kombucha among jars leaving 1/2 inch of head room on each jar or bottle, cover with a lid and refrigerate.  

Flavored kombucha:

It’s possible to flavor kombucha in a myriad of ways. Once you’ve removed your SOBBY, add fresh, dried or frozen fruit, fresh fruit juice or fruit puree to it, and refrigerate in glass containers. Leave about 1/2 inch space between liquid and cap. Herbs, spices or chia seeds are also great additions.

Here are some ratio suggestions for you to start experimenting:

-Fruit: start with 20% fruit and 80% kombucha. Berries, cherries, mango, citrus are great ones to try.

-Juice or fruit purees: Start with 10-20% juice and 80-90% Kombucha.

-Herbs and Spices: Experiment with ratios, starting with 1/4 teaspoon of herbs and/or spices per cup of kombucha. Fresh or dried ginger, dried lavender, vanilla beans, rose petals, chamomile, hibiscus, citrus zest, spirulina (seaweed) are some great flavors paired with kombucha.

-Chia seeds: although they won’t impart a flavor, they will thicken kombucha. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons per cup of kombucha.